Book of Booth
Illustration by Greg Betza

The Book of Booth: Lincoln Yung, ’70

One of the founding fathers of Booth’s alumni community in Hong Kong reflects on its growth and looks ahead to new milestones.

Lincoln Yung’s career has spanned several industries, having started in finance in Hong Kong in the early 1970s. He later diversified to his family textile business. Yung is the director of the Shanghai Commercial & Savings Bank Ltd., the former chairman of Shanghai Commercial Bank Ltd., and deputy managing director of Nanyang Holdings Ltd.

How did you choose Chicago Booth?

I went to a prep school in the United States from 1960 to 1964. After graduation, my roommate went to the University of Chicago for undergrad, and I went to Cornell. After finishing my undergraduate studies, I applied to various grad schools and I got into a few. I visited my ex-roommate at UChicago around that time. While I was touring the campus, the dean was there. He came out to speak to me and was very friendly. I was deeply impressed and chose Chicago Booth for my graduate business studies.

What lessons did you take with you from Booth into the workplace?

The education from Booth prepared me well for the business world. I got my first job at Arthur Andersen, a CPA firm, as I had concentrated in accounting and finance. After that I worked for Citibank in Hong Kong for almost six years as an account officer. Because of my association with Booth, I met a number of prominent alumni, including David Booth, ’71, himself while he was visiting Hong Kong. The network of fellow Chicago alumni broadened my knowledge and business insights.

How did you help found the alumni club in Hong Kong?

I came back to Hong Kong in 1972. In those days there weren’t too many Chicago alumni here. I ran into a friend, John Soong, ’42, who was head of Mobil Oil Hong Kong Ltd. at the time and had also attended the University of Chicago. We talked about how we could create a presence here, so in 1979, he and I founded the University of Chicago alumni club here.

Initially, most of the club members were graduate-school alumni, including many with MBAs or with PhDs who were teaching at the universities. It was hard at first to bring people together because the business people were all in Central and the professors resided mainly in the New Territories, near the border with China.

To accommodate everyone, we had gatherings one time in the city, one time in the New Territories. The Booth alumni club branched out a few years later.

What have been some of the club’s highlights over the years?

The main purpose of the club was to promote the school, recruit and interview new students for undergraduate and graduate school, and organize events when deans and UChicago professors came to Hong Kong. Until recently, lectures were held at the center in Cyberport, and a significant milestone is the university’s commitment with regard to its new location on Mount Davis. It’s the only US university here with an independent premises unto itself. The others are mainly joint programs with local universities.

This building will house the Executive MBA Program in Asia and welcome undergraduate students learning about China and Asia, as well as potentially students in sociology and law. In my view, it’s going to be very useful for academics and students who are doing research on East Asia, especially China. It’s been a pleasure to see how the University of Chicago has rebuilt the site while preserving the heritage buildings, creating a modern and beautiful campus.

—By Erin Hale